‘People should stop blaming Europe for all our problems’ - that is the message of outgoing Conservative MEP Giles Chichester.
Mr Chichester, who has been an MEP since 1994, is to stand down at the next European Parliament elections in May 2014 and said that if Britain holds an in-out referendum after 2017, as promised by Prime Minister David Cameron, he was likely to support staying in.
"People need to look beyond their noses and stop blaming Europe for everything," said Mr Chichester . "Most of our problems are home-grown."
But he backed the Prime Minister's plan to hold a referendum: "I think David Cameron is playing it right. There is a strong case to have a referendum. I took part in the 1975 referendum to go in, but the game has moved on. The project has gone too far too fast in trying to create a European State. For all the EU's imperfections I think people need to consider very carefully the alternatives – if there is an alternative.
Mr Chichester said he would like to see a reform of the present proportional representation electoral system. (NB: when he was first elected it was to a single-member constituency for Devon and East Plymouth
, the seat became part of the much larger South West England constituency in 1999 that remains today.)
“The present system of proportional representation weakened democratic accountability, even though it was fairer in mathematical terms
”, he said.
He added that he also wanted more transparency in the Council of Ministers, where national representatives can vote one way in secret, and then take the opposite position when they return to their home country.
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